Third guilty plea in death of 15-year-old Gibbs High School student Zach Munday


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A third adult teen entered a guilty plea in Knox County Criminal Court Thursday on charges related to the death of Gibbs High School student Zach Munday.

Noel Leyva, 19, entered a guilty plea Thursday to a charge of being an accessory after the fact and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Munday sustained fatal injuries during a fight at a party at Leyva’s family home where Leyva supplied alcohol using a fake I.D.

Leyva will return to court for a sentencing hearing on Friday, November 1.

Part of Leyva’s plea agreement included serving three years and discarding his fake I.D.

RELATED: Noel Leyva Stipulation of Proof

How Leyva’s three years will be served will be determined during the sentencing hearing.

He told the court on Thursday that he had already discarded the fake I.D.

From left to right: Isaiah Brooks, Chelsea Hopson. Both teens entered guilty pleas in Knox County court on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 in connection to the death of Zach Munday. (Photos: Knox County Sheriff’s Office)

Isaiah Brooks and Chelsea Hopson, both 18, entered guilty pleas relating to Munday’s death in late August. Brooks will serve 10 years and Hopson six years, but how those terms will be served will be determined at the sentencing hearing later this year.

Munday, who also played football for Gibbs High School, died suddenly in late May.

Munday and Brooks got into a fight at Leyva’s family home where there was a party on May 25, which led to Munday’s death. One witness claimed seeing Brooks “physically pick (Munday) up and slam him headfirst onto the pavement.”

Witness testimony in that document states there was underage drinking at the party.

According to court documents, evidence would show that Leyva went to a local gas station three times on the night of the party.

“At 10:21:26, defendant Leyla entered and purchased four 40-ounce ‘Steele Reserve’ beers and a 24-pack canned case of Natural Light beer,” Kevin Allen, assistant district attorney, read from the stipulation of proof.

The court documents also stated that videos would show Munday holding one of those beer cans in his hand.

Witnesses believed, and evidence would show, that Munday and Brooks consumed around the same amount of alcohol and were at the same level of intoxication.

Noel Leyva, 19, Source: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

“The underage consumption of alcohol and the fear of that being discovered by parents became a theme discussed among many students during the night as this incident unfolded,” court documents state.

Hopson arrived to the party to pick up Brooks around 2 a.m. Court documents stated Leyva told investigators that Hopson told him “Brooks had ‘slammed’ Munday, causing the injury.”

Leyva told investigators that Munday was given Ibuprofen, but was vomiting and still bleeding from his ear.

He said that Munday was in his basement for about 30-35 minutes.

Munday was eventually transferred to Hopson’s vehicle, with the help of Leyva, and several witnesses believed Hopson and Brooks were taking him to the hospital.

That was the last time Leyva saw Munday alive.

Brooks, Hopson and some others instead took Munday to Brooks’ home around 4 a.m. Hopson checked Munday before leaving around 10 a.m., and said that the bleeding in his ear had stopped and he was conscious.

Brooks called 911 at 12:11 p.m. on May 26 saying that Munday was unresponsive. Doctors said Munday’s injuries were treatable, had he been brought to a hospital sooner.

Investigators said that sometime before Leyva was interviewed on May 26, “Leyva gathered all the alcohol and containers as well as the bloody towels, a bloody pillow, and the shirt defendant Brooks was wearing during the incident and placed them into garbage bags.”

Leyva admitted to driving the items and discarding them in a dumpster at Mr. Gati’s Pizza, which is a little more than 5 miles away from his home.


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